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Pain Physician. 2017 Feb;20(2):69-76.

Percutaneous Vertebroplasty for Symptomatic Schmorl's Nodes: 11 Cases with Long-term Follow-up and a Literature Review.

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Department of Radiology, Zhong-da Hospital, Medical School, Southeast University, Nanjing 210009, China.



Percutaneous vertebroplasty (PVP) is commonly used to treat symptomatic vertebral compression fractures. However, its long-term effectiveness and safety for use in the treatment of symptomatic Schmorl's nodes (SNs) refractory to conservative treatment is uncertain.


To present a case series with PVP for symptomatic SNs not responding to conservative therapy and assess the effectiveness and safety for such treatment with long-term follow-up. To present a review of the literature regarding SNs and treatment options.


Single center retrospective observational study.


This study consists of patients from a large academic center in China.


Between January 2008 and December 2013, 11 patients suffering from symptomatic SNs that were refractory to medical or physical therapy, underwent PVP procedures in our department. All patients had a definitive diagnosis of SNs by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT). The visual analog scale (VAS) was assessed preoperatively at 4 hours, at one month, and every 6 months postoperatively during the long-term (mean: 58.0 months) follow-up period.


Each of the 11 patients reported an immediate and distinct relief of their back pain. No one reported a worsening of symptoms. The VAS decreased from an average preprocedural score of 7.9 to a postprocedural score of 2.1 at 4 hours. The VAS averaged 1.8 during the mean follow-up period of 58.0 (range 24.1 to 98.9) months. There were no postoperative complications during the follow-up period. At the end of the follow-up period, all 11 patients were unrestricted in their activities.


This study is a retrospective study with a small sample size.


PVP is an effective and safe procedure for the treatment of symptomatic SNs, which are refractory to medical or physical therapy.Key words: Percutaneous vertebroplasty, symptomatic Schmorl's nodes, vertebral endplate fracture, endplate osteonecrosis, Modic changes.

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